Tom Mackey’s and Trudi Jacobson’s last, and rather unexpected, joint presentation while they were in South Africa was a session on September 25 at the International Conference on Information Literacy (ICIL) at North-West University (NWU) in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa. They were invited to give this presentation by Dr. Jako Olivier when another presenter’s session fell through. The presentation, Applying Metaliteracy in Teaching and Learning Practices, was very well attended, particularly for a last minute addition to the schedule. Trudi and Tom explored changing literacy types, the value of metaliteracy in an environment of competing and overlapping literacies, core components of metaliteracy, and the open educational resources available to embed in disciplinary courses. This last part of the presentation focused on the metaliterate learner badges and the metaliteracy MOOCs (massive open online courses), although other resources were also described.
Tom Mackey and Trudi Jacobson have been invited to South Africa as keynote speakers at the International Conference on Information Literacy (ICIL), being held this year at North-West University in Vanderbijlpark. The conference theme is Information Literacy in All Spheres of Life, and will take place September 23-26.
Tom’s keynote, to take place on September 24, is titled Building Communities of Trust: Metaliterate Learning for a Post-Truth Society. Trudi is presenting on September 26 on Creating Shareable Knowledge: Exploring the Synergy between Metaliteracy and Open Pedagogy. The other international and national keynote speakers at the conference include Serap Kurbanoglu of the Department of Information Management at Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey, Irina Zhilavskaya, Chair of Media Education, Moscow Pedagogical State University, Bosire Onyancha of the Department of Information Science at the University of South Africa, Karin de Jager, University of Cape Town, Ina Fourie, Department of Information Science at the University of Pretoria, and Jako Olivier, professor of Multimodal Learning in the School of Professional Studies in Education at North-West University.
Trudi and Tom have also been invited by Dr. Olivier to give a prestige lecture and two workshops at the Potchefstroom campus of North-West University the week prior to the conference. The collaborative lecture is Exploring the Foundation of Metaliteracy in Theory and Practice, and the workshops are Applying Open Educational Practices to Develop Active Metaliterate Learners and Integrating Metaliteracy and Information Literacy into Teaching and Learning.
Look to Metaliteracy.org for future posts that feature slides from both keynotes, the collaborative prestige lecture, and the shared workshops.
Metaliteracy is featured as part of the recently published 7 Things You Should Know About Digital Literacies document published by Educause. Trudi Jacobson contributed to this brief from the 7 Things You Should Know About… series developed by the Educause Learning Initiative (ELI), along with Debra Gilchrist, Alison Head, and Joan Lippincott. According to the abstract for this brief:
The concept of digital literacy encompasses a range of skills and knowledge necessary to evaluate, use, and create digital information in various forms. Digital literacies include data literacy, information literacy, visual literacy, media literacy, and metaliteracy, as well as related capacities for assessing social and ethical issues in our digital world. Administrators, faculty members, librarians, instructional designers, and others have a pivotal role to play in helping students understand how information is shaped and shared today across the digital landscape (7 Things You Should Know About Digital Literacies).
The inclusion of metaliteracy in this series offers potential for the further analysis of this model as a comprehensive and unifying framework that emphasizes the importance of metacognitive reflection and associated metaliteracy learner characteristics in a digital world.
We welcome this guest post by Christina Pratt who completed our Metaliteracy MOOC, Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World, and developed a video presentation about confirmation bias for her own YouTube series How Do you Like Your Coffee?
Getting to Know and Getting Beyond Confirmation Bias
by Christina Pratt
My final project for the Metaliteracy MOOC, Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World, focused on confirmation bias. I decided that using a visual presentation of my thoughts and ideas would give the audience a face and personality behind the presentation Getting to Know and Getting Beyond Confirmation Bias (Please do be aware that I am quite new to the video creating scene). I chose confirmation bias because everyone has beliefs, some with such strong beliefs that they tend to become “truth” or “fact.” By sharing some information about cognitive biases and ideological/filter bubbles, I felt that the audience may become more aware of their own biases and how biases are developed. I even used an example of my own confirmation bias when it comes to Apple iOS and Android smartphones to help the audience see how common confirmation bias is, and how easy it is to develop biases even with something as simple as choosing products and services.
Thinking about the course now, I think I might have focused on post-truth as well. In our busy lives, we can become oblivious to what is going on around us. We read and watch news from many sources, research for school, work, and personal needs such as shopping and more, and we seem to ignore the misleading information at times. We also know that technology has a huge impact on our lives, but we seem to forget that it can be hurtful and damaging as well. A good example of this is the recent circulation of doctored videos of Nancy Pelosi on various social media platforms. Having taken this course, I was able to share some of the content learned in this course with the home schooled high school-aged children in the family, especially what we learned about the effects of visual aids on how we perceive a story. This is a big help with how the children will research and collect information in hopes that they will now carefully choose more reliable sources.
In closing, I am fifty years old. At my age, sometimes you feel that you have learned all you need to know. This course has definitely proved me wrong. Touché. Even more, the course, Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World was the most influential and inspiring course that I have taken throughout my four-year academic journey. The information that I learned from the course will be most helpful not only with helping the home schooled children in the family become more aware of biases and the less than reliable information that exists, but also with passing information onto viewers of my videos. I think one of the best things about this course is the interaction between peers. This interaction adds energy, ideas, and useful information to an already well constructed course. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who does a lot of research, provides information, and teaches in any field, but even more so, I believe that anyone, child to adult, could benefit greatly from this course.
We welcome this latest guest post from Jamie Witman, Online Learning Librarian and Liaison to the School of Technology, Art, and Design at the Community College of Baltimore County.
Confirmation Bias: Escaping Our Boundaries
by Jamie Witman
As a librarian, the topic of confirmation bias comes up in every library instruction session I and my colleagues teach. The conversations I have with students in regard to evaluating information sources generally revolve around the bias that we inherently
have about certain topics and publishers, as well as the bias that those specific publishers project. This course allowed me to think deeply about how to incorporate the metaliterate domains and roles into my teaching so I can provide students with the skills needed to push beyond their comfort zone and combat confirmation bias.
The webpage itself is intended for librarians and faculty colleagues looking for a new approach to teaching confirmation bias using the four different domains of metaliterate learning: affective, behavioral, cognitive, and metacognitive. Throughout the MOOC, we read, learned, and discussed how each of these domains plays a role in how we seek, process, and use information critically.
Typically, confirmation bias is associated with the affective domain, our emotional cortex of learning. Confirmation bias relies so heavily on our deeply held beliefs that we seek out information that reaffirms our views, while disregarding information that may actually be more accurate. It is easy to see how the affective domain governs this type of thinking, but the other three domains are equally powerful in providing us with ways to think about, understand, and combat confirmation bias. By drawing out all four individual domains on my webpage, and their relationships with confirmation bias, I hope to provide my colleagues with a new and innovative pedagogical method of approaching this topic that will allow our students to escape their own boundaries in information seeking.
I hope to be able to build upon this concept and continue to incorporate the metaliterate domains and roles into my teaching to help my students grow as critical information seekers and users in the post-truth world.
We welcome this guest posting from Holly Wehmeyer, Communications & Marketing Coordinator and Educator from the Intensive English Language Program at the University at Albany, SUNY. Holly participated in the first session of our Open edX MOOC Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World and created a Metaliteracy Infographic as her final project. Our Post-Truth MOOC is now in a self-paced mode so feel free to join and create your own project!
Characteristics of a Metaliterate Social Media User
by Holly Wehmeyer
For my final project, I chose to create an infographic on the characteristics of a Metaliterate social media user. I have watched the social media space become polarized and partisan along with the nation’s politics and wondered about my role in developing online communities of trust. I have watched friends and strangers argue past one another, post inflammatory memes, and eventually unfollow each other. How are we to compromise on important issues if we can’t even talk to one another? Taking this course was one step I chose to take in becoming part of the solution to this problem.
The infographic attempts to draw on the concepts we’ve learned in the course to help social media users reflect on how they approach social media and what and how they share information. I wanted to create a simple guide to being a responsible online citizen. I created the graphic using Canva, an online design tool that I’ve used previously while working on newsletters and other publications. It allows the user to create simple designs and offers a number of free icons and other graphics. I also used quotations and information from Mackey and Jacobson’s book, Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World, which was not required reading for the course (other than the Introduction and first chapter), but which I read on my own.
Working on this final project certainly involved all four metaliteracy learning domains. In the behavioral realm, I was reminded of what I should be DOING – how I should be interacting with other people on social media – in responsible and civic-minded ways. My actions have consequences, so I should strive for the action that avoids harm and creates constructive dialog. In the cognitive realm, I’ve learned a lot about confirmation bias, inoculation theory, ideas about experts, and more. My background in Journalism had already given me a good grounding in the way media outlets choose photos, write captions, and construct headlines, but the course readings were an excellent reminder of how things have changed since I worked in publishing in the 1990s. In the affective domain, this course actually made me feel a lot better about my own behavior. I haven’t been doing such a terrible job online as I perhaps thought! However, there is always room for improvement. The course helped me recognize why I’m reacting strongly to certain posts or why I feel frustrated when my arguments don’t convince my opponent. Finally, in the metacognitive domain, I have reflected frequently on why I post certain stories and why I have certain reactions to other people’s posts. It has helped me ask questions of myself, many of which I’ve put into my final project.
In conclusion, by modeling the characteristics of a metaliterate social media user, both through this infographic and through my online behavior, I hope to teach others about the value of metaliteracy, to build those communities of trust, and to help return our online discourse to a place of civility and discovery.
Allison Brungard and Kristin Klucevsek offer the following preview of their chapter, “Reconstructing Scientific Literacy through Metaliteracy: Implications for Learning in a Post Truth World,” appearing in the forthcoming book, Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World, edited by Thomas Mackey and Trudi Jacobson.
Science now exists in a wide range of digital contexts. Scientific information can be shared through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and user-generated communities such as YouTube, Flickr, Blogger, and Wikipedia. These platforms can help disseminate scientific information to the wider public, but they also can spread misconceptions and distortions. In our post-truth world, this has a strong impact on scientific literacy, with downstream implications for health, politics, and the environment. We also encounter effects of this post-truth world in our classrooms as we work to build stronger literacy skills with our students. The need for learners to critically examine and reflect on what they encounter in these participatory online environments is crucial. To improve scientific literacy, learners must develop the metacognitive processes necessary to discern fact from fiction. As teachers, we must re-examine competencies for scientific literacy in this post-truth, digital world.
In this chapter, we address the challenges of scientific literacy within the larger framework of metaliteracy. With an emphasis on the four domains of metaliterate learning, we align scientific process with metaliteracy competencies to enhance scientific literacy. We explore the impacts of current events and education on scientific literacy, as well as the relationship between social media and personal biases through which scientific facts can be misconstrued. We also focus on strategies for academic librarians and disciplinary faculty to infuse metaliterate objectives in their teaching, curriculum, and research. Reflective and participatory learning can move learners beyond the consumption of information and towards critical thinking, research, and writing. This encourages learners to also be content producers, with the ability to understand the most effective ways to use science in their daily lives